Friday, June 15, 2012
Strange sidewalk markings
First there were paths and tracks through the forest, then came dirt roads. Later, people improved their roads with cobblestones or gravel, and still later, with asphalt, or pavement.
Today's paved roads are covered with an astonishing array of patterns, words and symbols. Airport runways have lines and numbers that make sense to pilots, though to descending passengers they appear arcane.
Highways have white and yellow lines -- single, double, broken, solid -- to make drivers aware of the safety and legality of passing. Speedometer test sections are painted onto some roads so that drivers can check the accuracy of their speedometer gauges.
Until recently, helicopters were used to patrol for speed using road markings. Words are painted on roadways too. STOP is one example; others are SLOW and SCHOOL ZONE.
Possibly because the United Kingdom is one of the few nations where left-hand driving is the norm, London pavements are painted with the legend, LOOK LEFT, sometimes with the added illustration of a large pair of stylized eyes. JK Roadmarkings have posted a variety of complex patterns of lines and other symbols used there.
The painted road above is a recent change. This intersection lies between my workplace and King Edward SkyTrain station, and before I went on holiday, the crosswalks were definitely not green. This the first time I've seen bright swathes of green paint used on a city street. Now I'm watching the roads for new developments: clearly this is a happening art.